Risks of Being a Nurse in Relation to Ergonomics

risks of being a nurseNursing is one of the most demanding jobs around the world. And the nursing profession is quite a noble one. But with all the tasks involved within this profession there are occupational hazards, just like with everything else in life.

In this post, we look at some of the ergonomic risks of being a nurse depending on what he or she wears on his/her feet.

There are three aspects of ergonomics which can pose the danger of hurting oneself while at work. These aspects include:

  • Moving around (walking or jogging)
  • Lifting items or patients
  • Reaching for something (mostly from a high position such as a shelf)

To minimize these risks of being a nurse, there are steps you can take to ensure safety and there are those the institution you work for can take to ensure your well being.

Safety Measures
Personal LevelInstitutional Level

Wear shoes with non-slip soles
At health institutions there is a chance of having slippery patch on the floor. This could due to a spilled fluid, the floor having been washed and not yet dried up, and texture of the floor. With a slippery floor as a nurse you’d need to be in a pair of non-slip shoes to ensure good grip and stability on the floor. Remember, there are times you will be so preoccupied with work that you will not mind your step. And it is such times that if you’re not wearing shoes with sufficient traction, you can easily slip.
Have ankle support
Most nurses will spend most of their time at work in a standing position or moving from one place to another. After some time of being on your feet, your muscles will suffer from fatigue. With muscles being fatigued, your joints can easily fail you, especially our ankles. If one of your ankles was to fail you and you find yourself not stepping firmly on the ground then you could easily suffer from a sprain injury. If you’re carrying something, then that thing will most likely fall. Well, let’s not imagine the situation whereby you’re supporting a patient. Basically a terrible chain of events can follow each other. To prevent such occurrences it is advisable to wear a pair of safety shoes that will provide you with good ankle support.
Have sufficient cushioning for your work shoes
As we’ve highlighted above nurses’ work involves a lot of standing. Too much standing can lead to a number of problems such as pain around your feet, swelling, blistering, spraining or even ‘deformation’ of some toes. To minimize these and other similar risks, you should get a pair of safety work shoes that have sufficient cushioning. It would even be a good idea to get additional cushioning by getting some quality insoles.
Your shoes should have impenetrable soles
It is common good practice to have needles and sharp objects be disposed off correctly. But in the event whereby this does not happen and a needle or a broken bottle is on the floor, then you stand a chance of stepping on it as you go about your daily duties. If your shoes’ soles can be easily penetrated by a sharp object then you’d suffer from some pricking injury. Worse even, you could get infected in the process. This is why getting a pair of shoes that will require significant effort to be perforated is a good safety measure.
  • A health institution can ensure that the floor has an anti-slip property by design. If not the case, installing floor mats with sufficient friction (and maybe some cushioning) also works.
  • The work schedule should be such that an employee has the opportunity to take a breather(s) rather than working throughout during his or her shift. One way of doing this is providing a range of duties whereby some of them can be done when seated.
  • For duties carried out while standing, a foot rest/stand should be provided. This way a nurse can place a foot there. And this enables shifting of weight and giving rest to the legs alternately.
  • Keeping the floors clean and dry at all times. In addition to cleaning the floor, this would include reminding employees and visitors to the facility to dispose waste in the provided bins. A poster on the wall might suffice.
  • Every room and corner should be well lit both during the day and at night.


Getting the right pair of workplace shoes can save you from dangers such as feet swelling and back problems. With the right pair you minimize chances of tripping or slipping and they provide you with ankle support and cushioning.

Safety also depends on common sense. You would not want to be lifting a package that is well out of your strength capabilities all by yourself. Just ask for assistance from a colleague. Same case applies in reaching for something on a shelf that you cannot reach.

Above is not an exhaustive discussion on the risks of being a nurse regarding ergonomics. However, the risks discussed here are some of the most common ones.